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As in all things in this life......there is an ending to everything. As I have been considering all that has gone on these past 20 years, I know one thing for sure. I have been blessed and very fortunate, not only for the wealth of fishing experiences and excursions, but also the many wonderful friendships that have developed along the way. My analogy of the whole experience I would liken to that of a surfer who drops in on the perfect wave and makes a big bottom turn and then shots to the top, pulls off a spectacular cutback and then swings a turn back into the mid-section of a curling tube and hangs on. As he nears the end of the ride, he kicks out and hoots for joy.... this was the ride of his life! This was my ride at Trophytroutguide.com!
My fishing career started back in the late 90’s when I found myself tight on a monster brown on an idyllic, August summer evening right before dark. The big hen weighed 19 Lb. 6 oz. and was my first brown trout over 10 LB. and came from Wickiup Reservoir. I had been into the Excalibur Minnows for a few years back then and she inhaled the floater “Mark Sosin”model, a lure that you could say I introduced to the trophy trout world . The lure was a bass jerk bait and a staple back in the early 90’s that Kevin Van Dam and Mark Sosin put on the map. I was able to parlay that catch into a pro-staffer position with Pradco and met and worked with the famous Oregon guide, Mark Yano (RIP) who was their rep for the northwest at the time.
As luck would have it, and how these things often work out, this led to meeting and working with Bill Bates (RIP) and Dick Pool, who were representing Scotty Downriggers US and Pro-Troll Products. One thing led to another and soon I was pro-staffing or working for many companies including, Power-Pro Line, Owner Hooks, Shasta Tackle Company, Shimano, Lyman Lures, Pro-Cure Scents, Walker Downriggers, A/C Plugs, Remote Troll and Viking Wear. I want to say thank you to all those companies and associates that I had the chance to work with over these past 17 years. Another high point was my connection with Allan Cole through my entrance into the Brownbagger Club which allowed me to meet, befriend and fish with some of the best trophy trout sticks on the west coast!
A special thank you to Mark Knoch, who helped me get the TTG website off the ground back in 2004. He not only developed the site but got us going on the Monster Trout DVD series and connected us to several TV shows including American Outdoorsman, Angler West TV, and Gary Lewis Outdoors. In 2010 my current web administrator, Mark Sue, redesigned the website and completely remade the taxidermy page. I have been truly blessed to have worked with both of these guys.
I also want to thank all the many guide clients I had the privilege of sharing my knowledge with over the years. I was so lucky and blessed to have only a handful of slow days over those years and we caught more than our share of some really big trout. In the early days, I worked Wickiup for brown trout as an assistant guide with Bigfoot Guide Service and then went on my own to guide for bulls at Lake Billy Chinook as well as East and Paulina Lakes for Browns and kokanee.
WEBSITE: As of Jan. 2016, the website is winding down and will still be functional but the updates will be fewer. I will still be uploading photos to the galleries and all the articles, fishing reports and product reviews will still be available as well as the store. I have over 11 years of time invested in all the content on the site so I hope many of you will still consider the value of the information we have shared.
TAXIDERMY PAGE: As a result of Randy and Kirk Strodel (Living Designs Taxidermy) gearing back on the fiberglass reproduction part of their taxidermy business, I will no longer be taking any new orders for mounts. Again, I was so lucky to have worked first with Roberts Fish Mounts for a couple of years and then Living Designs for the past 16 years. As many of the hundreds of our customers will attest, these guys arguably did the best work you could find anywhere! To back this up, just check out some of the testimonies across the bottom of the taxidermy page. Thanks so much to all of you who trusted me with your mount.....it was a labor of love. I often told anybody who would listen, I had the best job in the whole world! Someone catches their special fish and come to you for a mount. You hand them back a killer mount that they are thrilled with.......everybody wins!!
FACEBOOK: I have my own personal page as well as a Trophy Trout Guide page. You can see it here: https://www.facebook.com/Trophy-Trout-Guide-134281399932816/ I will continue posting photos and reports over there this coming fishing season if you still want to follow along on my travels and trips.
Note: For the (15) current taxidermy customers, your order is in process and will be on schedule or perhaps even a little earlier. You have my guarantee that it will be built to the same excellent quality as usual! I will contact you when we are close to completion for the balance and will supply you with a photo before we ship.
To bring this to a close, I will go with a line from an old song Bob Hope made famous.......Thanks for the memories!
Tight Lines and Screamin’ Drags,
Your host, guide and friend,